On November 2, the Southern Ute Tribe held a six-man race for two seats on the Southern Ute Tribal Council that ended in with no one reaching a majority of the votes, leading to a four-way runoff election.
The runoff election will be between Alex S. Cloud (161 votes), Howard D. Richards (146 votes), Adam Red (123 votes), and Delbert D. Cuthair Jr. (112 votes) as none of them received a majority of the votes according to election rules. Out of the 679 votes cast Cloud was close to the majority falling short by nine votes.
According to Ace Stryker, editor of The Southern Ute Drum, the tribe’s official newspaper, a runoff election will be held on or before December 19. Information about the potential council members and their opponents was in election material they submitted to The Drum and from other sources.
Cloud, who was on the Council from 2008 to 2011, said he believes that as a long-time Tribal employee, particularly in the recreation division, he met many of the tribal members and believes “a Council member should be approachable and never turn anyone away.” He was tribal liaison to the North American Indigenous Games and coordinated intertribal youth sports activities.
Richards, a retired veteran, was a Council member in the last term and is running for re-election. He was Council chairman in 2003 and between 1991 and 2000 was on the Council seven times, according to the tribe’s website. He pledged to address problems in criminal justice, reservation maintenance, and housing. He has served as a Southern Ute Indian Tribe supervisory forest technician.
Red, a 1955 high school graduate in Ignacio, the tribal headquarters, worked for the Southern Ute Wildlife Department for 10 years and graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in 2005. He plans to focus on improving educational opportunities, housing, and tribal employment. He worked with the Southern Ute Tribal Rangers and currently is a GIS specialist with the Southern Ute Growth Fund.
Cuthair, a 2005 graduate of Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, works as systems administrator for the Management Systems Information Department of the Permanent Fund. Although the economy is slowly improving he cautioned against overspending. He feels Council members should attend each Council meeting and should be prepared.
The other two candidates were Erwin E. Taylor, a Council member from 1971 to 1977, and Vince Mirabal, a vice president for Sky Ute Sand and Gravel.